If the only thing you have is IP calling, then why are you investing in a Slack integration this late in the game?
Slack is a rising star. It has a small and growing set of users, some of which are happy to pay for the service. When it works, it is great. When it doesn’t, well… it then just feels like any other UC or enterprise communication service. I find myself using Slack more and more. Not necessarily because I need to, but rather because I am drawn to it by the teams I collaborate with. I like the experience.
In the last few months it seems that everyone is rushing to Slack, trying to build their own WebRTC integration with it. The latest casualty? LyteSpark.
Browsing Slack’s App Directory, I found the following WebRTC based services under the Communications category:
- Google Hangouts
- GoToMeeting free
- Blue Jeans
There are others, not in the marketplace, and probably a few others in other categories or ones that I just missed.
The problem with many of them is that Slack is actively adding VoIP now – using WebRTC of course.
As I always stated, WebRTC downgrades real time communications from a service to a feature. And now, Slack is adding this feature themselves.
The problem now becomes that these WebRTC services are competing with the built-in feature of Slack – something that will be infinitely easier and simpler to use – especially on mobile, where it is just there. What would be the incentive then to use a Hangouts bot when I can just start the same functionality from Slack without any integration? This is doubly so for free accounts, which are limited to 10 integrations.
The only WebRTC services that can make sense in such a case, are those that have some distinct added value that isn’t available (or easily available through roadmap of Slack). It boils down to two capabilities:
- Seamless integration with PSTN calling. This is what OttSpott does. I think this is defensible simply because I don’t see Slack going after that market. They will be more inclined to focus on IP based solutions. Just a gut feeling – nothing more
- Solving a higher level problem than pure voice or video calling. Maybe a widget integration with the customer’s website for click-to-call capabilities, though it can be some other capabilities that focus on a smaller niche or vertical
This Slack-rush of WebRTC services seems a bit unchecked. Basking under the light of WebRTC doesn’t work anymore, so time to move to some other hype-rich territory, and what better place than Slack? Problem is, without a real business problem to solve (conducting a video call over the web isn’t a business problem), Slack won’t be the solution.